Citizens’ opinions do matter

Published 10:27 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016

To the Editor:

At its [July 25] Monday night meeting, the Southampton County Board of Supervisors rolled out its time clock to limit the freedom of speech of its citizens during Citizen Comment Time. Their reasoning was that the citizens talked too long at their July 5th meeting. Many spoke trying to protect their community, businesses, children’s safety, church, boy scouts and many other concerns. Some of the citizens did talk for more than three minutes, and the developer’s attorney spoke for over a half hour. At a public hearing the topic is sometimes very complex and needs some explanation.

Is it time for the citizens of the county to start carrying signs that say “Citizens’ Opinions Matter”?

At its most recent meeting the Board of Supervisors spent over a half hour discussing the no-wake zones on the Nottoway River, relating to the speed of boats on the river. This was the second month the topic was discussed and they are planning for two more months on this topic.

They spent less than 45 seconds voting to change the zoning on the Camp Parkway project after five hours of public hearing. They had no discussion, nor did they ask for any. Robert’s Rules of Order start with a motion, a second, then discussion and vote. It’s hard to believe that no supervisor had any comment on this topic. It is also hard to believe that the decision was made immediately after the public hearing without time to think about all that was said. Many folks think that the decision was made prior to the discussion and public hearing.

Citizens’ opinions DO matter.

Glenn Updike